The Murchison/Gascoyne region is set to benefit from the regional expansion of the Aboriginal Affairs Department (AAD), with new offices opening in Carnarvon and Meekatharra.
Speaking today at the launch of the AAD Carnarvon District Office, Aboriginal Affairs Minister Dr Kim Hames said the expansion program reflects the State Government’s continued commitment to Aboriginal affairs.
“Of the 50,000 Aboriginal people who live in Western Australia, more than 50 per cent reside in regional areas,” Dr Hames said.
“The regional expansion program aims to make the AAD more accessible to Aboriginal communities, families and individuals throughout the State, even in the most remote locations.”
As the agency responsible for the co-ordination and monitoring of services to Aboriginal people, one of AAD’s key objectives is to assist Aboriginal people to build partnerships with government and the private sector to identify local issues and develop local solutions.
The regional expansion is being driven by the Local Area Co-ordination initiative, which seeks to ensure that AAD staff are located where Aboriginal people live and where they require services.
“To fulfil its role effectively, the AAD is best placed having staff in action on the ground, like Bill Doble here in Carnarvon,” Dr Hames said.
“Getting to know their community means that local area co-ordinators will be in a position to provide the appropriate information and advice to help Aboriginal people access the services they require.”
The latest stage of the regional expansion sees new offices opening in the Murchison/Gascoyne, Pilbara, Goldfields, and Kimberley regions. The Minister for Aboriginal Affairs will officially open the Meekatharra District Office on August 23.
Since being launched by the State Government in 1998, the regional expansion initiative has seen the number of AAD offices increase from seven to 24.
Media contact: Sandy Gater, Minister’s office 9424 7450
Ken Suttie, AAD Community Relations Manager, on 9235 8067